Here is a recap of the 2018 general election races in which The Times Editorial Board has made endorsements:
Lake County Council
Republican incumbent Dan Dernulc's bipartisan integrity earns him a right to a new term on the council.
Republican Christian Jorgensen, currently the St. John Town Council president, is the best choice to serve in this south Lake County seat on the county's legislative and fiscal body. Jorgensen defeated incumbent Republican Councilman Eldon Strong, of Crown Point, in the May primary. Jorgensen, an accomplished business attorney, is a clear choice over Democratic opponent Phillip Kuiper, a former Lowell town councilman who didn't run in the primary and was named to the ballot by Democratic caucus.
Lake County Sheriff
Incumbent Sheriff Oscar Martinez has been a steady hand at healing a sheriff's department scarred by the felony bribery conviction of previous Sheriff John Buncich. Since being selected by Democratic caucus a year ago to fulfill the term of the disgraced Buncich, Martinez has brought efficiencies to a jail once rife with runaway overtime, fired an unqualified former jail warden with a criminal conviction and hired a new warden based on a national search and merit. Martinez deserves to continue his promising work.
Porter County Commissioner
Incumbent Republican Jeff Good, of Valparaiso, has helped achieved a litany of major improvements for county taxpayers without actually raising their taxes, including:
- A new Porter County Animal Shelter built on time and under budget.
- County insurance costs reduced to $8.6 million, from $14 million.
- An ambulance service contract renegotiated, saving $1.5 million over five years.
- Property and casualty insurance revised, saving $400,000 in 2018.
He's the only logical choice on the ballot for this office.
Porter County prosecutor
Challenger Gary Germann, a Democrat, edges incumbent Prosecutor Brian Gensel for our endorsement.
Germann contends Porter County's alternative-sentencing veterans and drug courts — which focus on treatment, not just punishment — are woefully underused. He left us with confidence he will do something about it.
Germann also has won the support of Porter County Bar Association members in a recent survey.
Drug addiction continues to fester in the county. While Prosecutor Gensel touts his commitment to being tough on crime, he also told The Times Editorial Board most of the low- and mid-level offenders are committing crimes to feed their addictions.
Yet very few cases are transferred to Porter County's drug court. Germann deserves a chance to forge a better path forward.
U.S. House Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary, is the only serious choice for Indiana's 1st Congressional District. He has been a steady hand in winning federal approval and funds for key Northwest Indiana development initiatives. There also is no greater champion of Region industry, particularly the steel mills, and the many workers of our Region. His opponent, Republican Mark Leyva, is a perennially unsuccessful candidate who offers no real alternative.
We endorse incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly over Republican Mike Braun, a downstate Republican. Donnelly has a much better handle on major Northwest Indiana projects, including the Visclosky-championed commuter rail expansion, than Braun could articulate. Donnelly has been a friend to our Region and deserves to continue.
Indiana House of Representatives
Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron, is the only viable choice for this office. Aylesworth continues to be well-versed in both Region and statewide concerns, including the need to update our road and water infrastructure. His Democrat opponent, Delano Scaife, of Kouts, offered no specifics of what he would bring to Northwest Indiana and seemed ill-prepared to answer nearly any question during our editorial board interviews. Scaife, a Lake County jail guard, seems out of his league.
Republican incumbent Rep. Hal Slager, R-Schererville, has attracted some $400 million in transformative investment to the Region over two legislative sessions and deserves a nod from voters to keep going. His Democratic opponent, political newcomer Chris Chyung, has a good attitude and promising future in local politics. But he's not ready to stack up against Slager's accomplishments or respect in the General Assembly.
Democratic challenger Lisa Beck edges incumbent Indiana House Rep. Julie Olthoff, R-Crown Point, for our endorsement. Beck, who resides near Lakes of the Four Seasons, impressed us with her tireless campaign to listen to her constituents and make their concerns the main pillars of her campaign: infrastructure, good-paying jobs and public education.
Olthoff admirably has focused on initiatives to fight domestic violence and sexual assault, and she's now a board member of Fair Haven, Lake County's rape crisis center. But she sometimes focuses on topics of limited scope and overemphasizes the minutiae, eclipsing the bigger picture as it relates to the Region.